Much of the rapid speed of innovation in technology and software applications can be attributed to open-source programming. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of programmers include open-source code in their projects. This trend does not seem to be abating anytime soon, so you might be wondering what the future holds for open-source. As a digital marketer, developments in this area can have a big impact on how your work gets done.
In this article, we’ll take a look at several future trends in the open-source arena. We’ll also discuss how they might impact digital marketing. Let’s get started!
What You Need to Know About the Open-Source Approach
The concept of open-source software is most likely older than the term itself. The phrase was reportedly coined in 1998, however, when Netscape released its source code. Since then, this development approach has been codified and become more and more common.
In a nutshell, open-source software is created and licensed with the intent that anyone can view, modify, or enhance it. You can liken it to the ‘Creative Commons’ license for reusable images or other creative work. Moreover, this approach is focused on innovation through collaboration.
The open-source approach has brought us many well-known products. WordPress, for instance, is a completely open-source project. Over 48 percent of the internet’s top one million sites are created with WordPress. That’s a substantial piece of online real estate, all built with an open-source Content Management System (CMS):
Additionally, tech and internet giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have sought to crowdsource solutions through open-source projects. For example, Google started and then handed off the Kubernetes project – an open-source project that automates the management of containerized applications – to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
3 Open-Source Future Trends to Watch
With larger and more mainstream companies supporting and utilizing open-source projects, change may be on the horizon in a wide variety of markets. This includes Internet of Things (IoT) devices, web applications, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more. Let’s look at three trends related to open-source that are worth keeping an eye on.
1. A New Focus on Security
Projects created with open-source programming practices can present a double-edged sword when it comes to security. When something is created through this kind of collaboration, it may naturally have more security vulnerabilities.
However, it’s due to that same collaboration and transparency that vulnerabilities are constantly being scanned and surveilled. Consequently, they can be patched and fixed more swiftly than in private, enterprise applications. Additionally, open-source applications can create greater data portability between platforms.
For marketers, this means there’s potential to maximize on this increase in data transparency and portability. As regulations increase with legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ability to delete or move data will be a vital service.
Data is also key to creating personalized customer experiences. So establishing transparent and effective data security practices now can help to differentiate your marketing efforts in the future.
2. Non-Tech Industries Turning into Software Producers
Another area where open-source programming is trending may surprise you. It’s not in a traditionally technical sector, but somewhere you’re more likely to pick up the season’s latest styles.
In industries such as fashion, open-source applications provide greater control and customization for retail purposes. Brands like Nordstrom and Nike have been quick to see the value in using open-source applications and creating their own:
Building highly individualized retail or customer support applications is just one example of how non-tech industries can harness open-source to help maintain relevancy.
It’s likely that companies and brands that maintain reliance on off-the-shelf software solutions will become quickly antiquated. This is especially true when compared to data-rich, highly customized experiences backed by open-source software.
3. Rapid Growth of Open-Source Applications for IoT
Several high-profile acquisitions over the past few years can be pointed to as indicators of what might be just around the corner. Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub, for example, and IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat highlight how large-scale corporations now have skin in the open-source game:
For everyone else, this means that while developing for IoT endpoints has been traditionally more challenging for programmers, open-source opportunities are changing that status quo. By taking advantage of open-source solutions, connections between the cloud, IoT endpoints, and data processors can be more easily created and used.
As these areas of technology converge, the rate of open-source IoT applications is predicted to grow astronomically. This means marketers will again need to scrabble for stability in an endlessly-shifting technology landscape. Those who can adapt their marketing techniques quickly and creatively, as well as employ open-source solutions, should stay ahead of the game.
Open-source programming has brought us many amazing technological advancements, and enabled us to benefit from the power of collaboration and shared innovation. As we speed towards an even more open future, however, it’s good to be aware of what might be around the corner.
What future open-source possibilities are you most excited about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Alex Holyoake